The Narrow Gate
Of course, entry through the narrow gate, the primordial Ur-gate, is the labor of childbirth, and thank you, Doctor Freud for pointing that out. There's an almost literal echo of that idea in Pure Land Buddhism, which teaches that everyone will be reborn inside a lotus blossom into the Pure Land (Heaven), if only they have uttered Namu amida butsu! (roughly, "Help me Lord Buddha!") once in their broken, unkempt, despairing and ravelled lives — to which the skeptical naturally point out that it hardly seems fair to allow, say, Adolf Hitler into heaven just for reciting a half-understood, mostly incomprehensible verbal formula. But the Buddha replies, "True, he is reborn in the Pure Land, formed like everyone else within the bud of a lotus blossom. But the bud does not open!"
You have to ask yourself which direction you're trying to go through that narrow gate. Is Heaven a fortress?† Are you entering Hell, or escaping from it? Have you found your gate, yet? Dare we ask, are you born again?
†The only "fortress" Dante Alighieri identifies is the overheated brazen walls of Dis, that is Hell itself. C. S. Lewis was more subtle; in The Great Divorce his guide (Dante had Virgil, Lewis was content with the forgettable George MacDonald) points out a barely perceptible crack in the dirt containing the entire abyss of Hell with the laser-like green tip of a blade of grass. It's all a matter of scale.
Labels: Luke 13:22-30